Nurses strike: Middlesbrough nurse says 'we're doing it for the public'

Roaqah Shaher told ITV Tyne Tees "enough is enough". Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A striking nurse has said "enough is enough" after voicing concerns over safety.

Nurse Roaqah Shaher told ITV Tyne Tees the industrial action is "for the public as much as it is for us".

Speaking on a picket line outside James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, she said: "It really is important to have public support because this is for the public as much as it is for us.

"We need the public to know that we are doing this for them as well as us. We need them to have safe care when they use the NHS, and we need to retain the staff, so we're doing it for our workforce, and we're doing it for the public."

Members of the Royal College of Nursing have been on picket lines across the North East - including in County Durham, Darlington and North Yorkshire.

It comes as thousands of nurses across England are going on strike as a bitter pay dispute with the government continues.

Ms Shaher added: "Nursing has been very difficult for many years in the NHS. Our nursing workforce are stressed and worked to the bone.

"People are leaving and we can't retain our staff and we just need to do something to ensure safety."

The NHS trusts in our region affected by this round of industrial action include County Durham and Darlington, South Tees, Harrogate and District and York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said he recognises the cost of living pressures on NHS staff.

Writing in the Independent, Mr Barclay said: "If we provide unaffordable pay rises to NHS staff, we will take billions of pounds away from where we need it most. Unaffordable pay hikes will mean cutting patient care and stoking the inflation that would make us all poorer."

The NHS is reminding patients to attend all their usual appointments unless they have been contacted, and to seek urgent care if needed during the strikes.

NHS England said patients should use services "wisely" by going to NHS 111 online, but continuing to call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

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